Kelly Johnson reports that the Saba Amateur Boxing Association hosted its 4th Annual Amateur Boxing Tournament on Saturday October 26 at the Princess Juliana Sports Field to our largest audience yet all waiting in anticipation for the four bouts of the evening. The event entitled Fight 2D Finish saw amateur boxers participating from the islands of Aruba, St. Maarten and Saba. Mr Irvin Riley opened the evening as he always does with a rousing rendition of the Saba Anthem. There to announce the events of the evening was the always professional and crowd pleasing announcer Mr Gersh Geenty who lends his strong voice to announce the fights every year. The medical presence for the evening as is mandatory for a fight night was provided by Dr Koot of the AM Edwards Medical Center and the Saba Red Cross.
In the first two exhibitions the best performances were by Helen Durand and Berto Joseph both of St. Maarten respectfully but it was the determination of Tanish Theilman and Nathan Peterson their opponents from Saba who had their greatest fights since both were last minute additions not having any training this year. In the third fight Levi Lao from Aruba won the match against Ludwig Charles of Saba and in the main event of the evening Shamail Levenstone of Saba won against Romeo Francis of Aruba in a match that had the entire crowd jumping on their feet. Mr. Levenstone also won Best Boxer of the evening.
The evening also came alive with creative and scintillating Hip Hop and Soca routines performed by Dashaun Prince, Diofany Diaz, Kyeanna Connor, and Dean Joseph of the Motiance Dance School of St. Maarten under the guidance of choreographer Naomi Adriana during the intermission. Also thanks goes out to the great performance by the two very beautiful ring girls Bianca Johnson and Kaitlin Johnson who strutted around the ring in sparkling costumes proudly displaying the round cards to each round of the fights.
The food for the evening was provided by none other than Ernest Hassell, Steve Hughes and their team who had the crowd wanting more of their great Caribbean dishes to go along with the ample drinks that kept the night grooving.
However, the night was also plagued by numerous problems leading up to the event, most especially the fact that the Anguilla Amateur Boxing team also known as the AXA Revolution Fighters namely Cecil Hodge Jr, Curvin Benjamin and Kesley Richardson were a no show. After confirming that 5 persons with the three boxers included would be travelling to Saba via the Edge on October 25, it was discovered via numerous calls to the father and sister of Cecil Hodge Jr who were under the impression that the fighters were on their way to Saba that they were unable to secure funding after stating otherwise to the Saba Amateur Boxing Association. After receiving a very curt email from Cecil Hodge Jr in an attempt to downplay the situation S.A.B.A reiterated that they would cover all costs for the three Anguilla boxers but never received any formal response or apology from any of the three fighters.
S.A.B.A ever resourceful had to switch around the entire card on the day of the event so that 5 scored fights then became 2 exhibitions and 2 scoring fights. In addition to that after numerous attempts by the S.A.B.A to have the lighting situation fixed at the venue by the responsible parties it was then the Association that was able to secure some borrowed spotlights to light the ring so that the matches could take place since only one of the eight spot lights belonging to the venue were actually functional.
Most notably thanks goes to the handful of hard workers from Windward Roads who spent two days setting up the boxing ring using borrowed and donated material and material from the company to build the base for the Association’s floor boxing ring to be placed upon. This is the most tedious and time consuming job for the Association each year since it operates on a very limited budget consisting of small donations and fundraisings that the association is able to conduct during the year and it cannot afford to purchase a competition right since it can cost upwards of US$10,000.
However, yet another year has passed that the sport of Amateur Boxing continues to strive through the perseverance of the President Dean Johnson, Treasurer Kelly Johnson and Head Coach Rodrick Lovell who continue to push the athletes and boundaries of what the sport is and can become on the island of Saba. Special thanks also go out to Referee Shawn Blair of St. Maarten, the Aruba Boxing Association and first time participants Marci’s Mega Gym, as well as our experienced judges Rovell Galgo, Glenn Pileo, Delroy Sinclair, James Granger, and timekeeper Dereck Spence for without whom we would not have had a boxing tournament. The Association would also like to thank Windward Roads, My Store, Big Rock, Gebe, The Island Government of Saba, Public Works, the AM Edwards Medical Center, Saba Red Cross, Saba Party Productions, B&C Beverages, International Liqours, Heavenly Water, Smart Security, Cottage Club, Scouts Place, Photographer Lionel Charles and most importantly all of the volunteers that supported us that made this event so successful. In ending we would like to thank everyone no matter how big or small their role and we hope to see you all again next year.